It’s often said that we are the average of the people we surround ourselves with. This is true for me and some of my closest friends, as many of us struggle with breaking out of our shells and typically identify as more on the introverted side. This can be a major challenge in professional settings, as introverts tend to be hyper-aware of how they behave in every situation. As a result, we have a tendency to overthink the way we present ourselves within a space such as a networking event.
This is an issue that many people face – if you’re one, you’re not alone. Thankfully, GetVoIP came up with some tips and tricks to help people show their best selves during a networking event.
They note, “networking is vital for your career and great when building relationships with like-minded people. As an introvert, networking can be difficult. These tips can help.” The tips are broken down into three time periods: before the event, during the event, and after the event.
Before the event, it is suggested to: prepare questions ahead of time, connect with people online prior to the event, and connect with friends of those you want to network with. Do your research via Facebook or LinkedIn to find out who may be attending the event and send them a quick introductory message. This can help alleviate the frightening feeling of walking into a room full of strangers.
During the event, it is helpful to smile often, as that helps people to remember a face. It may also be beneficial to hang around by the food. Food helps to raise endorphin levels, making people more open for conversation.
When speaking with others, throw in some compliments, ask them questions about themselves, and highlight shared values. It can be helpful, if possible, to have someone else introduce or endorse you.
After the event, go into follow up mode. Email people you received business cards from, send connection requests via LinkedIn, and send messages telling the individual that you enjoyed meeting and speaking with them.
From personal experience, it is also helpful to make sure you have business cards in an easily accessible place. That way you’re not fumbling around for them, making yourself more nervous.
Try going to as many networking events as possible, and in no time, working the room will feel like second nature.